Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I was born in Málaga, Spain, of mother Filipina and Spanish father. I studied at the University of Fine Arts in Malaga, but at the age of 6 my parents took me to a drawing academy where I was drawing and painting until I was 12 years old. I always liked to draw, but I never thought about dedicating myself to it. I left school when I was 17 because I got bored, and I studied economics and geography, but I was not interested. In my city there was no university of fine arts yet, but at 22 years old I decided to resume my studies. Now I am 30 years old and I am completely dedicated to my work. I live it with a lot of passion and interest.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
Since I was little I liked to draw; I drew everywhere. But it was not until I returned to school when I was 22 years old that I decided to take art seriously.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
In the university I learned a lot, from the teachers and especially from my classmates. I have changed a lot in recent years. I was always a “classic painter,” and I studied the great artists of the past: Velazquez, Manet, Rembrandt, Vermeer, etc .. I painted from nature, models, sculptures, still lifes, landscape .. I studied the different techniques, etc.
All this research process together with the study of the theory and history of art has led me to develop my current work: I am interested in the dialogue that is established between the representation of the painting and its surroundings. The abandoned and impassable space becomes an exhibition space, an inappropriate place to welcome and exhibit these valuable objects. In most cases the only remaining record of the interventions is through photography, and in few occasions the spectator has the opportunity to approach the work and contemplate it live, since they are usually places that are difficult to access, probably nobody will see them ever.
This interests me especially because photography gives evidence of the pictorial “discovery” and the exhibition space violated, and at the same time questions the relation of the viewer with the image or “picture.” Because through photography a distance is broken that is necessary and fundamental for the experimentation of a work and its contemplation, the result is not only a painting that pretends to be a painting within its relationship with the environment–a scenography that is sometimes strange and inhospitable–it is also the action of taking the picture of the museum, stealing the image, stealing the painting and taking it out of the institution to put it in another place–in a place where it is never seen, or seen differently
What is your process like?
I like the idea of “stealing” a painting and putting it in another place, a desolate place, that you never relate to it because it does not belong to that world. I like to create that conflict. I usually visit these places with a friend who paints graffiti. I am a studio artist and I do not know many places; it was my friend who one day said to me: “Hey, let’s paint the street.” — and I said, “Ok!”
In those moments I painted paintings inside paintings, oil on canvas, but when I painted the first intervention of the street, the contrast between the painting and the surroundings fascinated me, and that’s how it all began. At first I had to paint quickly because the graffiti artists paint very fast–too fast for me–so I had to finish the painting in 3 or 4 hours, that same day. Over time I wanted to devote more time to the paintings and went the next day to devote more time.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
Many. Many, but if I had to keep a thing, it is a phrase that my teacher told me when I was in the academy and I was just a child. He gave me a box of paintings, and in the box he wrote to me: “Julio, colors are sounds that can not be heard and sounds that are not seen, you have to make music with paint.”
What is your studio like?
Until recently I had a studio at the university, but I do not need it anymore; my studio is now the street, it is the place I paint at that moment.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
The hardest thing is to think if what you do will take you somewhere, if you can live from what you do, tomorrow. I think that the best way to avoid that thought is to try to maintain yourself in another way–not to depend on art to live because in that way you condition your work to the opinion of others. It is better to do what you think you have to do without thinking whether or not you will like people.
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
Contemporary artistic decontextualization, maybe.
What are you working on right now?
I am developing pictorial interventions, I think it is something that can continue to grow and improve.
Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you very much for your support, opportunities of this kind are appreciated.
Find more at julioanayacabanding.com!